Office chairs are easy to overlook, but they’re one of the most important components of a comfortable and safe workplace. Given that the average office worker spends almost 1,700 hours a year in front of a computer, it’s vital to ensure their chair isn’t contributing to unnecessary health problems.
Many employees who sit for the majority of their workday are at high risk of health issues like back strain, eye strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and musculoskeletal problems in the neck. If you choose high-quality, supportive office chairs for your staff, they are less likely to develop these problems.
In addition, studies show that comfortable employees are more productive. They make fewer typing mistakes, are less likely to need breaks, and are more likely to bring a positive attitude to their work.
Comfortable employees are more effective and contribute to a more positive work environment.
Choosing Office Chairs That Work for Everyone
The best office chairs are highly adjustable to meet the needs of different employees. A non-adjustable chair is likely designed for a 5’9 employee with average proportions, which means it will not be ideal for the vast majority of employees who are shorter, taller, or have different proportions.
At minimum, you should make sure your chair has height adjustment capabilities. This allows employees to keep their feet comfortably on the floor. Arm width and height adjustments, seat angle, back angle, and adjustable lumbar support are also good features to look for.
Employees who have health conditions or disabilities may need additional adjustability and support. Before purchasing a new set of office chairs, ask employees about their needs.
Ensuring Your Office Chairs Are Comfortable
As we said before, comfort is extremely important for improving productivity and workplace positivity. You do not want to sacrifice in this area when purchasing an office chair.
One of the most important aspects of office chair comfort is the upholstery. Ideally, the fabric should be breathable to ensure employees remain comfortable after hours of work. Non-breathable fabric will result in the chair becoming hot and uncomfortable after the employee has been working for just a few hours.
Look for a chair with moderately thick memory foam or a similarly durable cushion. You don’t want to buy a chair with a cushion that will wear out quickly. If you can feel the base of the chair through the cushion when you sit down, your chair is not sufficiently cushioned.
Office Chair Purchasing Checklist
Ideally, employees should try out chairs before you purchase. This helps office managers ensure the chairs they are buying fit employees well and meet their needs before committing to a purchase. Some office supply companies will bring a variety of chairs to the office so employees can try them out.
Here are a few things employees should look for when trying out a chair:
- The backrest should follow the shape of the spine and support the curve in the lower back.
- It should be adjustable to a wide range of body types and sizes.
- The back of the chair should come to the middle of the shoulder blades or even higher.
- Feet should rest flat on the floor or on a footrest.
- Arm rests should be close enough to the body to allow the shoulder to relax, but not so close as to feel right.
- Arm height should be appropriate for the height of the desk.
- The seat of the chair should be long enough to put a couple of finger lengths between it and the knee.
With these tips in mind, you can ensure your office chairs promote happy, healthy, and productive employees.